13 Dec 2019

Comments on the Election

Hello readers!

As of this morning, Friday the 13th, the UK General Election 2019 results have been declared. This post will be separated into multiple parts, to account for my predictions before the campaign (spoiler: I was right); to the result here in Scotland; and to the reality in England, and what it will mean for the future. I aim to provide a preliminary analysis of why the results turned out as they did, though we will need more in-depth data to uncover some of the mysteries.

My Predictions

In this post written six weeks before the election, I made three concrete predictions, and raised the point that the NHS would be a major part of the election campaign. The polls agree that, besides Brexit, the NHS was indeed a big part of voters’ concerns.

As for my three predictions, I was correct on all of them, though some were more prescient than others.

Claim 1: “I don’t think the Liberal Democrats are going to do as well its leader, Jo Swinson, hopes.”

This proved fantastically accurate, or dare I say, prophetic. It’s true that the Liberal Democrat vote increased 7.4% to 11.5%, but this did nothing other than gift seats to the Tories. Jo Swinson lost her seat, confirming what I thought and what the polls were saying: no one likes Jo Swinson.

Moreover, judging from the campaign, Jo Swinson’s Lib Dems lost for the exact reasons I predicted: their revoke policy was undemocratic, and a large number of Remain voters (especially we, the young) care about the NHS, education and welfare. Jo Swinson’s record in coalition was less than stellar on those counts.

Claim 2: “the Green Party will do pretty well, though it probably won’t gain any new seats.”

This was precisely correct: the Green vote increased from 1.6% to 2.7% and they retained their 1 seat. The high profile of environmental issues in the media helped them. I should say that Labour would have won some more seats if the Greens had stood down in some constituencies, but hey, who cares about Brexit if we can pretend to save the planet?

Claim 3: “The Conservative Party will be punished hard in Scotland.”

This one turned out to be mostly correct. The Scottish Tories lost 7 of their 13 seats, and their vote share decreased by 3.5%. I was hoping for a wipe-out, but I’m sure my fellow SNP activists are happy with the result.

As for why the Scottish Tories got 25% of the vote, I’ve tried to understand it, and I’ve come to the following conclusion. About half of Scottish Tory voters do see Boris Johnson’s policies on the economy and NHS as being pretty despicable. I think they justify voting for the Tories with the idea that those policies can be fixed, whereas the breakup of the UK—and exit from the EU—are permanent decisions.

The thing with identities is that they are powerful. Unionists in Scotland believe they are British, and it’s incredibly difficult for them to give that up; they will vote to keep it, even if it means enormous child poverty, homelessness, and decimating the NHS.

What will happen to Scotland?

In one word: Independence. In two words: EU membership. The long, in-depth explanation is going to be too complicated to discuss here. The road to independence will be long, hard, and treacherous. An almighty confrontation between the Scottish government and the Tory government in Westminster will be just the start.

I wish I could be optimistic and say that everything will be alright for Scotland. I think it will—in the future. But the next couple of years are going to be chaotic and uncertain. The double whammy of Tory government and Brexit is going to devastate this country.

What happened in England?

I don’t need to tell you this: Corbyn lost and BoJo’s Tories won. But you know who also lost? England, as a nation. British democracy. Rational thought and truth.

As for why this happened, I’m not sure yet. There are many obvious answers: the antisemitism debacle which was parroted by the media ad infinitum—and which Corbyn would have nipped in the bud long ago, if he had any sense. It’s true that the media coverage was pathetic, and incredibly hostile to Labour; but that doesn’t excuse Corbyn for giving them ammunition.

Then there’s Corbyn himself, who could not get across to the electorate like he did in 2017. But hey, I predicted this long ago. I loved most of Jeremy Corbyn’s policies, but I was always sceptical of the man himself; I called him “less than prime-ministerly” and pithily remarked: “Corbyn? Get a tie.”

I was hoping the young were going to save Labour the same way they did last time, particularly since 1.5 million people registered to vote. Source I don’t know what the hell happened. Did the young vote for the Lib Dems and Greens in a grand act of irony? Did we not come out to vote on polling day? Or was it simply not enough to outvote the bloody pensioners and turkeys?

All of this pales in comparison to the biggest reason for why the Tories won the election: “Get Brexit done.” As John Crace has remarked, this was the biggest lie of the election—and it will cost the English dearly. Look, English voters: the Brexit paralysis we have experienced for the past three years has not been because the Tories didn’t have a majority in Parliament. It’s because Brexit is complicated, difficult, and costly.

The media has encouraged this foolish, self-regarding stupidity. Brexit isn’t hard because British Remainers don’t want it. It’s hard because I, along with the 440 million people in Continental Europe, aren’t going to hand your unicorn on a silver platter. Neither will Trump’s America or China. We have our own interests and we are going to protect them.

I repeat: you are not a world power anymore. If you try and force a deal, you will get nothing, and your economy will implode.

I’m going to abandon my normally calm, rational tone and say it like it is. If you voted Tory, you’ve fucked the young. You’ve fucked the disabled, the homeless, and the people on low pay. You put a noose around the neck of the NHS. Don’t come begging to me when Brexit screws you over; I told you so.

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